Socialist Worker

Join the 6 November anti-racist demonstration

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2225

Many Thousands of trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners are gearing up to march against racism, fascism and Islamophobia on Saturday 6 November in central London.

More than 50 coaches are booked from across Britain to bring people to the protest.

The demonstration and carnival, called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and backed by the TUC and Muslim Council of Britain, is striking a chord.

The rise of the racist English Defence League (EDL) and attempts by the British National Party to regain ground it lost during the election have given an urgency to the protest.

Hundreds of trade union branches, MPs, campaigners and organisations have added their backing.

The latest include Labour MP Andy Slaughter and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

Incredible

“The phone has been ringing off the hook,” Alys, a worker in the UAF national office, told Socialist Worker.

“We ordered 100,000 extra leaflets last week and half of them were snapped up within six hours—the response has been incredible.”

Birmingham Central Mosque, UAF and other organisations have booked four coaches from the city.

Nationally, many trade unions are building the protest.

The CWU has postponed its black members’ conference, due to take place on the same day, so that activists can attend the demonstration. The union has written to every branch and sent out leaflets.

Two hundred PCS members at the union’s black members’ seminar last week took publicity for the demo.

The National Union of Teachers has distributed 10,000 leaflets to its divisional secretaries and emailed every member.

And thousands of leaflets were given to people at a vigil against homophobic hate crime on Saturday in London.

Some 30,000 Muslims attended a Global Peace and Unity conference in east London last weekend—and many talked about why the protest was important.

Hajra, an A-level student, spoke about experiencing harassment for wearing the hijab.

Tesneem, a pharmacist in Luton, said she was too afraid to wear the hijab at work. “I worry that people won’t take me seriously—even though I have a degree,” she told Socialist Worker.

“I would rather wear it all the time but don’t feel confident. Sometimes when I am wearing the headscarf people talk

differently to me—they talk slowly like I can’t speak English or I’m stupid—but I’m English and a trained pharmacist.”

“We get verbal abuse more than violence,” Hajra added, “but there shouldn’t be any abuse. People should be free to dress as they choose.

“We don’t need a debate about the headscarf—we need to be talking about defending multiculturalism because that’s the real argument.”

Integrated

Amani, a young Muslim woman from Austria who lives in London, said, “Society in Vienna is very polarised.

“When I came to London I was shocked at how integrated it is—so many different people from different places and backgrounds, it’s fantastic.

“We have to celebrate that—the demonstration is important to show that we are proud of our unity.”

Avais, who lives and works in London, told Socialist Worker, “Racists may be able to get more support for their ideas because of the cuts.

“The press and politicians constantly pander to racism by blaming immigrants and Muslims.

“I remember at school I didn’t experience much racism, but it has got worse as I’ve got older. Everyone has a label.

“That’s why I think the demo is a good idea. It is an opportunity for us to come together as a majority to say racism has no place in our society.”

The march will assemble at 12 noon on Saturday 6 November in Malet Street, central London, WC1. For more information go to www.uaf.org.uk


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